Look Up Service

Our Research Centre is closed in accordance with the Coronavirus Emergency Regulations to protect people’s health.

The reference materials normally available for use in responding to lookup requests cannot be consulted. 

Lookups in the transcriptions of church registers and graveyard transcriptions done by the Society can be dealt with.

The North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS) provides a free Look Up Service for Members who are unable to visit the Research Centre in Newtownabbey.  The searches only apply to the following books in the Irish Section:

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Also some of the Other Records such as the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland (PHSI) envelopes of genealogical correspondence, Solicitors’ Material, Irish Directories and Who’s Who and the Index to journals and gravestone inscriptions from books and journals can prove fruitful.  In other words, we can search those records that are indexed. So books and journals for which we have an index can be searched but not an unindexed volume.  Where possible the indexes are being put online so please check those before asking for a search.

To use this service:

  • Use the “Look Up Request ” format shown here. Copy and paste into an email.
  • State your membership number
    (5 characters – e.g. A0001).
  • State which record set is to be checked:
    the shelfmark of the volume
    (e.g. IR150-025)
    or the PHSI envelope (e.g. PHSI-A5).
  • State which specific name is to be looked up, listing alternative spellings.
  • If there are likely to be many results, provide as much information as possible to narrow the range.
  • Give your name and email address
  • Include your name and membership number – e.g. A0001 – in the Subject line of your email.
  • Email your request to lookup@nifhs.org.
Look Up Request
A service for NIFHS Members only
Your Membership Number (required)
Record Set Shelfmark or PHSI Envelope as per Library List (required)
Look Up Name (required)
Additional location information to focus the Look Up (optional)
Your Name (required)
Your Email Address (required)

Please bear in mind:

  • This is a look up service, not a research service.
  • Omitting your membership number will delay dealing with your request.
  • We have only a few volunteers available to do searches.
  • A volunteer might be in the Research Centre only once a week, or less frequently.
  • Often a surname will feature many times in the record set and it is not feasible to check them all.
  • Sometimes a PHSI envelope may contain a lot of correspondence about different families of the name and it is not feasible to summarise all of it.
  • Because of copyright law we cannot provide a verbatim copy of more than a short extract.


In the light of this:

  • Please limit your request to that which can be answered quickly and briefly – 1 Source, 1 Surname.
  • Check the “other names mentioned” in the specific PHSI envelope to help identify the right family.
  • Do not expect an immediate response.
  • Be prepared for the reply “There is too much information to summarise – please contact a professional genealogist”.

For example, when requesting a search of the PHSI envelopes one might ask “Do the McAfee envelopes relate to the family in the townland of Englishtown in the parish of Macosquin? If so, please summarise the information or put me in touch with the correspondent.”  This prevents the volunteer having to waste time dealing with the wrong family.

Any photocopies that are required will be charged at 20p per A4 sheet.